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A taste of Pakistan with Fusion Kitchen

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Unable to accommodate those who were lactose intolerant for the lassi, we did adapt the lentil and mint kebab dish to accommodate those who were celiac. Some of the kebabs were made with corn crumbs rather than bread crumbs and although having different tastes and texture they were both delicious.

A hearty appetite, maybe even a growling stomach, was a definite asset when it came to our cooking class. As Shahnaz usually cooks in batches at home, she did the same for our class. All evening, we were working off recipes that would make servings for five people. We had four teams of four, making four dishes each. You do the math. There were a fair amount of leftovers after we had all finished eating, but none went to waste as some people took "doggy bags" home. 

A sense of teamwork was needed because we were divided in to four sub-groups of four or five. Each "team" consisted of two of these sub-groups. At the beginning of the class we were told that Shahnaz would choose a "winning" team that would take home gift baskets of spices and Pakistani treats. 

(Most of) the winning team: Sean Peters, Christina Wu, Shawn Smith, Eileen Knowles

Although my team wasn't the winning team, we felt like we had won anyhow walking out of the kitchen with a full stomach, some new friends and a sense of satisfaction from the unique experience. 

How Fusion Kitchen began.

Chantelle and Sonam, two students from SFU, created Fusion Kitchen, a non-profit with the ultimate goal of developing  transferable skill sets, and self-confidence of recent female immigrants through teaching cooking classes from their culture's dishes. The idea is that they experience will result in a feeling like you in the country eating a home-cooked meal. Classes are three hours long and are an opportunity to learn about the culture, meet new people and have hands-on cooking in small groups. Sonam and Chantelle feel that food is the best way to learn, cook, and connect. 

“We combined our passion to create change, our desire to travel the world, and our hunger to experience different cultures into one idea. We are adventurists and givers at heart, and we hope you can join us in our next big adventure with Fusion Kitchen.”

The pilot project for Fusion Kitchen was held in December and featured a Fijian teacher. It was a success and after tweaking a few things they were ready for their debut, their most recent class, taught by Shahnaz from Pakistan. 

Chantelle explained why Shahnaz was a good candidate for a Fusion Cooking class. “Since arriving in Canada, Shahnaz has done her best to adjust to the new environment and develop a social circle. While she is gaining credentials through such courses as the Canadian Early Childhood Education assistant program, she still faces obstacles in pursuit of securing full-time employment in Canada.”

This class was held at the Woodland Smokehouse & Commissary on Commercial Drive but they intend on having a bigger space once the ball starts rolling and they establish themselves in the community. Their goals are to have a large kitchen space similar to The Dirty Apron, where there are sectioned areas for each group. They hope to host cooking classes once a week in the near future, so keep up to date on upcoming classes on their site: http://www.thefusionkitchen.com/

For more high resolution photos check out my gallery.

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